WHEN European wine manufacturers introduced laws forbidding the use of their regional names in other countries it caused quite a bit of confusion. We can no longer purchase Australian champagne, hermitage or bordeaux. The wine styles are still made here, of course - but under different names.
The hearty French stew, boeuf bourguignon (or beef burgundy), has its origins in the region that produces that famous red wine. Here, we now know it as pinot noir after the grape used in its production. Whatever you may call it now, the recipe still stands as a classic.
The trick to a great beef burgundy is to use the same wine in cooking that you will serve at the table; no cask wines for this one if you can manage it. I first started making this many years ago; back then I used topside as I didn't know any better. Now I know to use chuck or oyster blade and cook it slowly at a low temperature. The meat attains that wonderful melt-in-the-mouth texture.
Beef in red wine
INGREDIENTS: 1.5kg chuck or oyster blade beef 1 tbs plain flour 125g speck or bacon rashers, rind removed 2 tbs olive oil 1 tbs butter 4 white onions, peeled and diced 1 1/2 cups pinot noir large sprig fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried 1 bay leaf 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed 2 tbs butter, extra 250g button mushrooms salt and pepper, to taste extra thyme or chopped fresh parsley, to garnish.
METHOD: Preheat oven to 150C. Cut beef into 5cm squares and toss in the flour. Heat oil and butter in a heavy frypan over medium high heat and cook the beef in two batches until brown. Place in a heavy ovenproof casserole or cast iron pot.
Add sliced speck or bacon and the onions to the pan and cook for two minutes, then stir in the wine. Deglaze the pan and simmer for a minute. Add vegetables and wine to the casserole, along with the thyme and bay leaf. Cover with a tight lid and cook for two hours at 150C. Saute the mushrooms in the extra butter until brown; add to the casserole and cook for a further 30 minutes. Season to taste. Garnish with extra herbs. Serve with cooked pasta, rice or creamy mashed potatoes.
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